Prison Health Care Reformer Issues Third Progress Report
Robert Sillen, the court-appointed receiver in charge of reforming the state's prison health system, on Tuesday released his third bimonthly report updating his staff's progress, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times reports.
The report highlighted Sillen's plan to convert the prisons' medical technical assistants from nurse/peace officer positions to licensed vocational nurses. The conversion would save taxpayers $39 million in the first year.
Sillen has raised prison health care workers' salaries to make them comparable to salaries at UC hospitals. The increases cost $24 million, compared with $90 million spent by the state last year to hire temporary workers to fill staff vacancies.
Sillen plans to add 5,000 patient beds for prisoners in the next three to five years, based on a needs survey that will be conducted in early 2007. He also is working with a court-appointed receiver from a different lawsuit to determine whether an additional 5,000 beds are necessary for inmates with mental illnesses (Richman, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times, 12/6).
Department of Corrections Secretary Jim Tilton estimated that a staff of 130 would be required to plan the construction project.
Sillen said he anticipated the necessary personnel to be requested in the fiscal year 2007-2008 budget.
The report said that there has been "resistance" and "obstinance" from agencies such as the State Personnel Board regarding the proposals (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 12/6).